Rautiainen leaves Levadia

Pasi Rautiainen has resigned his coach's post at Estonian club FC Levadia Maardu to return home to Finland.

FC Levadia Maardu and Pasi Rautiainen have agreed to part company after just one season of the coach's two-year deal with the club.

Family decision
Rautiainen decided he wanted to leave Estonia for personal reasons. The Finn's mother died earlier in the year and he also missed his family. "It was a very hard to make this decision, but my [three] children, wife, father and sister all need me to be close to them," he said. "I was happy in Estonia, but unfortunately my family was still back in Finland and I need to spend more time with them than just one or two days a week."

Inspired season
The coach had made good progress with Levadia since taking over in December 2001. In the 2002 season, Rautiainen's side challenged for the title until the very last round, losing out to FC Flora Tallinn by two points. They also missed out on the Estonian Cup to FC Levadia Tallinn, but the season was considered a success.

'Friendly relationship'
Rautiainen, a former player with FC Bayern München and Finland, said he would be sad to leave the club. "I had a very good contact with the players and friendly relationship with the club president Viktor Levada. The club made good progress during the season, I found lots of friends in Estonia and I sincerely hope our paths will cross again in the future."

'Very sad'
Levada, the club's owner and president, said: "All the players, club personnel and myself are very sad to see Pasi leaving, but he needs to go home and I understand him. We all thank Pasi for the good season and his positive effect on the team." It is thought assistant coach Hannu Tuukkanen, another Finn, could take over the head coach's role.